Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
21 January 2019
Toyota calls BS on Chevy ads
Ha ha ha. It’s about time someone (other than me) called bullshit on the Chevy ads that are insipid at worst, outright deceiving at best.
You know the series of ads. The incredibly smug spokesperson brings in real people (or so Chevy claims) to guess who won the 2015 (three years ago!) awards from JD Power, which is itself a crock.
The newest Chevy ad features a claim that its cars are more reliable than Honda, Toyota and Ford.
“The Chevy ads simply got caught in a marketing ploy that’s been used for years. And one that rarely works. What makes the ads so infuriating isn’t just the misleading nature of them. But the smugness that goes along with them.”
However, it turns out the survey for reliability was based on a study sponsored by Chevy that had numerous methodology errors.
So who called BS on the Chevy ad? Toyota, nobody’s fool. The auto manufacturer called out Chevy’s claim and now the Chevy ad has been pulled.
I’ve written extensively about how these Chevy ads are enormously misleading, although not to Fyre Festival levels. For one thing, JD Power will basically say what you want if you just pay up. They are the biggest scam in marketing. (And, somehow, Verizon is also promoting something similar.)
Chevy ads based on sketchy research
The study on Chevy’s reliability spotlights what is a good research and what is not. Most market research is not designed to uncover the truth. Just to demonstrate what researchers want to prove.
Methodology is everything. Based on some reports on what exactly what Chevy did, let’s walk through two of the most common mistakes in market research.
– Surveying only the outliers. In Chevy’s case, it mailed invitations to nearly 1 million people who owned a 2015 model car. Developing a sample from mail invitations makes the research self-selecting. Meaning, you only get the ones who are on the fringes responding. Those who have very strong opinions, good or bad. Most of us live in the middle. This is not a representative sample of the target audience.
– What does “most reliable” mean? Too often research tests clichéd phrases that dominate marketing so much they mean nothing. That’s how you end up with a Chevy ad that, even if it were based on true research, still makes little impact. It would have been more impactful if Chevy were detailed in what “most reliable” means.
The Chevy ads simply got caught in a marketing ploy that’s been used for years. And one that rarely works. What makes the ads so infuriating isn’t just the misleading nature of them. But the smugness that goes along with them.
Good for Toyota to call Chevy on it.
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